USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the recruiting process. This isn’t about where just the top five-star athletes are headed but rather a guide to the process and the pitfalls for student-athletes nationwide from Playced.com. This week’s article is written by Ross Hawley, the president of the company. Playced.com is an industry leader in college recruiting. Their technology based recruiting service identifies the right colleges for potential recruits to pursue and provides a recruiting system that is second to none for student-athletes of all talent levels and ages.
In this week’s college coach interview, I asked Texas Wesleyan Basketball Coach Brennen Shingleton his philosophy on recruiting. His response, “I stopped going after what I thought looked good or what everybody else was doing, and I started going after what works for Texas Wesleyan. I try to keep it simple and stay true to who we are.”
Well, with 103 wins through five seasons and a 2017 NAIA National Championship under his belt, I’d say that philosophy has worked out pretty well for Coach Shingleton.
As a high school athlete looking to get to the next level, are you using that same philosophy for your college recruiting experience? Here’s a tip: you should be!
Q: How does a recruit get your attention?
A: We’re such a transient university, meaning we deal with a lot of transfers. So, those guys will certainly take up a number of our roster spots, year in and year out. In regards to high school recruits though, we really try to find “fits” for our university. Because recruiting is such a competitive environment, we’re typically finding the guys that fly a little under the radar with some room for continued growth. And we’re looking for the guys that fit into our system academically, socially and athletically, not necessarily the guys that fit in with the system of the masses.
A lot of the guys that find our spots out of high school are usually underrated or overlooked. In other words, we’re not concerned with how many stars a recruit is getting. We only concern ourselves with how he will fit in with our system and our program.
Q: What advice do you have for high school athletes going through the recruiting process?
A: Figure out what it is that you want in a basketball program and a university. It’s so easy these days to transfer and move on to the next school. I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing in every scenario. But as a high school recruit, you shouldn’t make a decision on a school with one foot in the door and one foot out.
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When we start recruiting you, we ask a lot of questions early on. We do that to help you identify with all the things you’re truly wanting out of a collegiate experience. Do we have what you’re looking for in an education? Will you be able to accomplish your goals being a part of our program and being coached by our staff? Is this program going to give you the time to develop?
As a young man looking to establish yourself in a university’s basketball program, don’t just chase the size of the arena, what’s on the front of your jersey or what kind of shoes you’re going to be wearing. Make sure there’s some substance to your chase. Because as a coach, the last thing I want to do is spend a lot of time and effort on getting a young man into our program, only to see him leave and try to chase another thing that maybe he should’ve seen before he made his initial decision.
The goal is to have all your questions answered so you feel prepared and ready to make the best decision for your future.
Q: What do high school athletes control during the college recruiting process?
A: Their communication. Be up front and be transparent about what you want. Nothing drives me crazier than dealing with a recruit that’s always looking for the next best thing. Because that’s what blocks honest communication.
If we’re not interested in you as a player, we’re going to let you know. The same should apply to you, the player. It’s okay to come that kind of mutual decision. Not every program is going to be right for you and not every recruit is going to fit in with our program.
If you want to be in total control of what you’ve got going on, communicate openly with coaches. If you’re interested in learning more about a program, tell the coach. If you’d rather see what else is out there, say it.
Student-athletes have such a unique ability to communicate in 2017 via social media, etc. If you approach communicating with coaches the right way, you can really sift through the nonsense of the college recruiting process.
Q: What is your advice to a recruit that’s not being heavily recruited or recruited at all?
A: I always tell kids that if you want to be recruited, you have to get out there and sell it! Whether that’s calling a coach or sending an email, do what you need to do to have a coach pay attention to you. It’s your job as an athlete to search out that scholarship that’s meant for you.
We tell the guys in our open-tryouts all the time that this is a job interview. You’ve got to sell a coach what you can and can’t do. You’re essentially selling a product, and that product is you. With all the ways of communicating and creating exposure these days, it would almost be detrimental for you to not do everything you can to be a part of a program.
I’m not telling you to be overbearing and annoying, I’m telling you to take it to where the answer is no. We’ve had guys show up on our campus that we didn’t even know existed and four years later, they’re on full scholarships and graduated. It’s because they pursued it!